FAQ Anxiety and Cannabis
How will cannabis improve my anxiety?
How will cannabis improve my anxiety?
More than 40 million Americans currently suffer from some kind of anxiety disorder. That’s 18% of the U.S. adult population, and many are currently on prescription pharmaceuticals. Studies suggest that cannabis contains anti-anxiety properties and benefits many people with issues related to anxiety disorders. Considering the number of Americans that could be positively impacted, this is big news.
Anxiety is among the most common reasons cited for those seeking cannabis for medicinal purposes. Why? The idea of taking less pharmaceutical drugs is an attractive proposition for many people. In states with legal cannabis, patients use significantly less prescription medication. Knowing that cannabis can be an affordable and safe option makes it worth a try.
A 1999 study in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry discovered a huge societal price tag for anxiety: Roughly one-third of America’s total mental health costs, $42 billion a year, goes to treating anxiety-related disorders.
A 2017 Canadian study discovered that that 40% of patients who were prescribed cannabis to treat anxiety eliminated the use of benzodiazepines (like, Xanax) within 90 days. That percentage increased to 45% within a year of cannabis treatment.
“We wanted to take a close look at the likelihood of continued benzodiazepine usage after commencing medical cannabis treatments and to be perfectly honest, the results are extremely promising,” said Dr. Neil Smith, who conducted the study. “When conducting this type of research, experts are typically encouraged by an efficacy rate in the neighborhood of 10%. To see 45% effectiveness demonstrates that the medical cannabis industry is at a real watershed moment.”
Research demonstrates that cannabis has similar components to pharmaceutical medications for anxiety symptoms. Benzodiazepines are one of the most commonly prescribed types of anti-anxiety medication because they are designed to manage the levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety.
Patients who take benzodiazepines often build a tolerance and they cause thousands of overdose deaths every year. Fortunately, cannabis, specifically the cannabinoid CBD, also regulates the GABA levels traveling to the brain.
Is a CBD-only product preferable to one that contains some THC?
Research suggests that CBD-dominant cannabis with a relatively low THC profile provides the best combination for anxiety relief. Cannabis that is rich in CBD has been found effective for patients suffering from anxiety as well as pain, spasms and many other issues. CBD does not provide the euphoric “high” found in THC. Research animals given CBD have much lower levels of anxiety than those not given the compound.
But it should be emphasized that CBD-only type of cannabis may not be the best option for all anxiety sufferers. Both THC and CBD are powerful endocannabinoids that work individually and especially well in unison. They have also been shown to play a role in stabilizing your mood and calming you down when you feel overwhelmed.
A 2014 study done by the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions demonstrated that chronic stress reduces the production of endocannabinoids, natural chemicals synthesized in the brain that regulate anxiety. Endocannabinoids are similar to the compounds found in cannabis, including THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. THC mimics anandamide, a naturally occurring, mood-regulating endocannabinoid. THC also increases the concentration of dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter that elicits pleasant sensations. Low dopamine levels have been linked to anxiety.
“Using compounds derived from cannabis to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize moods and ease depression,” said Dr. Samir Haj-Dahmane, who directed the Buffalo study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and published in the “Journal of Neuroscience.”
Have a conversation with a Greenlight Approved retail specialist to find the cannabis that will help you combat your condition. Remember: Only a small amount of THC is needed. Remember the simple saying: Start low (dose) and go slow.
Edibles? Capsules? Flower? What’s the best method for anxiety relief?
Selecting the best method for medicating anxiety disorders truly is a matter of personal preference. Some anxiety sufferers seek the immediate relief of inhaled cannabis to treat an acute panic attack. Others prefer to consume edibles as a way to stay calm and relaxed for a longer period of time.
The right cannabis consumption method depends on your symptoms, diagnosis and how you react to psychoactive substances. You have many options to choose from, and each method has advantages and disadvantages.
- Smoking: This is the most popular method. For most cannabis smokers, the effect is immediate and anxiety diminishes in a hurry. But some find smoking unhealthy and seek better alternatives.
- Vaping: If you are seeking quick relief and prefer not to smoke, vaporization is a viable option. The medicine’s effectiveness and immediacy is comparable to smoking, without the toxins and carcinogens.
- Edibles: Eating cannabis products works well for those seeking a more extended treatment effect. Edibles, however, are not recommended for those who are suffering from an acute panic attack or who seek immediate relief. Edible cannabis will take up to an hour to digest and provide relief. But the effect will last many hours, depending on the dose.
Essentially, you can consume cannabis in just about any manner and feel some anxiety relief, but some products clearly work better than others.
In order to maximize your chance of success, work with a physician familiar with cannabis and let Greenlight Approved help you focus your search for the product with the best fit. Your Greenlight Approved retail partner will have a wide variety of products to help your treatment program.
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